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Suicide Prevention Program Takes Aim at Top Cause of Death

It's the second leading cause of death among kids aged 10-14, third leading cause for those 15-19 in San Diego County and San Diego Unified's SPEAK program is entering its third year of work after helping more than 32,000 students, staff, parents and community members.

The Suicide Prevention Education Awareness and Knowledge Program (SPEAK) works to reduce the stigma that is associated with mental health and depression, increase help-seeking behaviors in our youth, and improve staff responsiveness to suicidal concerns and behaviors in our students by providing suicide prevention education to students, staff, and parents throughout the district.

"We work to alert our students and communities to warning signs, risk factors and what to do in a crisis situation involving suicide," said Jean Foster, the program's coordinator. "One of the myths related to suicide is that talking about it will cause it to happen. We can’t perpetuate this myth."

SPEAK coordinates with individual schools on their suicide prevention efforts, including establishing a school site suicide prevention team that is trained on how to spot students at risk. The County of San Diego Department of Mental Health provides funding for the program so there is no cost to schools for this service.

To obtain more information about the program, or to schedule a presentation, please contact Jean Foster, MFT jfoster1@sandi.net, 619-523-0708.